"Nou pa eritye Latè soti nan zansèt nou yo; nou prete li nan men pitit nou yo."
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
-Native American Proverb
Léogâne (Kreole: Leyogàn) is a coastal city in Haiti's Ouest Department and the seat of Léogâne Arrondissement. It is the 11th most populous city in Haiti and the 7th most populous city in the Western Department. As of the IHSI's March 1, 2015 estimate, Léogâne had a population of 199,813, up from 181,709 at the 2010 census. Located in western Ouest Department, within the greater Plaine de Léogâne, the city is home to numerous rivers, and waterways, including Rivière Momance and Riviere Rouyonne. It is the cultural and economic center of the Léogâne metropolitan statistical area, which includes Petit-Goâve, Grand-Goâve, and an estimated population of 509,280 as of July 1, 2016.
Léogâne was historically a center of sugar and rum production, and more recently became infamous as the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake. It’s also called “the bastion of stone carving in Haiti”.
In the 1660s, pioneers began to settle the area in western Plaine Cul de Sac along the Rivière Rouyonne. In 1665, the site was chosen to replace Port-au-Prince as the capital of the colony and was incorporated under the name "Yaguana". Shortly afterward, the name was changed to Léogâne in honor of the French legacy. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for sugar cane production and fishing. After a lull in growth which continued into the centralization era, Léogâne resumed its development into a major city, and by the 1980s it emerged as a center for trade. Residents of Léogâne are known as 'Léoganais'. They include a diverse mix of government employees, college students, musicians, farm workers, and blue-collar workers. The city's official slogan promotes Léogâne as "The city of Anacaona", a reference to the Taina Queen Anacaona. The city also adopted "I am Léogânais and I am proud of it" as a slogan, due to the city's amibitious history and its increasing need for civic pride. In recent years, some Léogânais have been working to promote their city as a center for the arts and culture.
Léogane is one of the oldest cities in the country. From the time of the Indians, it was called Yaguana. The date of elevation to the rank of the commune is not known. It has thirteen communal sections and one district. It is inland, its dominant terrain is the hills and its climate is normal. Its inhabitants bear the name of Léoganais. In 1998, the population of the commune of Léogane was estimated at 106,785 inhabitants. For an area of 688.52 km2, its density was 155 inhabitants.
It also holds importance for archaeological and ancient sites such as Fort Campan, and one of the most ancient windmills in the western hemisphere is located in Baussan, Léogâne. The town was at the epicenter of the 12 January 2010 earthquake, and was catastrophically affected, with 80-90% of buildings damaged. It also had been destroyed in an in 1770. At the time of the arrival of the Europeans in 1492, Yaguana—modern-day Léogâne—was the capital of Jaragua, one of the five chiefdoms on the island of Hispaniola. This province was the last independent holdout during the Spanish conquest of Hispaniola until their leader Queen Anacaona was captured and killed by the Spaniards in 1503. The French secured legal access to one-third of the island from the Spanish crown by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 and established a city in Yaguana and renamed it Léogâne. In 1803, during the Haitian Revolution Jean-Jacques Dessalines ordered his men to burn the town to the ground to force out the last of the French colonists.
Gaining an understanding of Léogâne’s culture and history is central to its redevelopment. For this reason, a focus on culture is an appropriate place to begin. The people of Léogâne proudly value their local culture and history. There is strong place identity in Léogâne that serves as a guide to rebuilding efforts. Local visual, musical and dramatic arts, public celebrations, cultural practices, and historic preservation all have practical roles to play in immediate and future efforts. Local cultural identity serves as a guide to community and economic development, planning for infrastructure and public works, housing, education, and urban design. Léogâne’s history and culture are an important part of Haiti’s national heritage. Léogâne is a national treasure because it was the political center of the indigenous society of Taino Arawak, who inhabited the island before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Since the colonial period, Léogâne’s economic identity has been tied to sugar cane production and fishing. Architecturally, Léogâne City is classic Caribbean in style, and the surrounding mountains and coast are some of Haiti’s loveliest natural terrain. Unfortunately, Léogâne’s physical form was devastated by the earthquake in January of 2010, and the region’s economic identity has been overcome by the concentration of population and services in nearby Port-au-Prince. The social fabric of Léogâne has been subject to decades of political upheaval, grinding poverty, disease and the decay of infrastructure. Another important and often overlooked determent to the identity of Léogâne is that its local workforce is continually drained by the need to seek work abroad. Place identity should embrace much more than historic preservation and the marketing of local crafts. Rebuilding efforts should be framed in terms of a distinct regional identity, rooted in the local culture and ways of life. Talking about the goals of rebuilding, one local artist said, “We need to build a reason to be in Léogâne.” Providing a reason to want to be in Léogâne should guide all rebuilding efforts here.
HistoryThe site of Léogane would have been the seat of the part of Xaragua. The Kingdom of Xaragua was led by Bohéchio, who succeeded Anacaona, his sister the wife of Caonabo who then led the Maguana. Anacoana was endowed with a genius superior to her sex and even to that of the peoples of the island of Santo Domingo, and had for the Spaniards feelings of affection and inspired them to her brother. He died without children and left the kingdom to his sister Anacoana. Beyond her political role, she left the image of a poet and samba who performed songs. This region of Léogane has always been considered one of the most prosperous regions of the island of Hispaniola.
Among the founding settlers of Yaguana, whose French pronunciation made Léogane, was Ogeron who was governor of the French colony of Santo Domingo in 1665. In 1669, Léogane counted only 50 men carrying weapons. The settlement was located on two sites: L'Ester and Petite Rivière, the seat of the parish of Saint-Jacques. In 1694, Ogeron came to reside in Léogane, which consecrated the settlement as the capital of the colony.
In 1691, the English attacked Petite Rivière, but were repelled by the inhabitants; In 1701, L'Ester and Petite Rivière were wanted, but the diversity of opinions kept them both. In February 1710 a fire ravaged Petite Rivière, leaving only six or seven houses and the church was not rebuilt.
L'Ester was attacked in October 1694 by the English. On this occasion Monsieur Guy Coutard, adviser to the Sovereign Council, distinguished himself, but there were 40 men dead or wounded. On August 7, 1702, a new attack of the English took place, without success. The parish of L'Ester was abolished by an ordinance of 15 April 1711. The Sainte-Rose parish of Lima, located in Léogane, succeeded the two parishes of Petite Rivière and L'Ester.
In 1697, the sovereign and then Superior Council of the colony of Santo Domingo was transferred from Petit Goave, ruined by the English, to Léogane.
In 1915, the United States military forces landed in Haiti and occupied the country until 1934. American forces were deployed in the country without major incidents except in Léogâne, where Charlemagne Péralte commander of the military security of the region refused to put down the arms and the national flag without having received the official order of the Haitian authorities.
|VLG||Ville de Léogane||122,650|
|QTN||Quartier de Trouin||10,277|
|DCS||1ère Section Dessources||14,794|
|PRV||2ème Section Petite Rivière||14,040|
|GRV||3ème Section Grande Rivière||14,873|
|FBD||4ème Section Fond De Bourdin||2,520|
|PAV||5ème Section Palmiste à Vin||4,506|
|ORN||6ème Section Section Orangers||1,474|
|PAQ||7ème Section Parques||1,640|
|BSG||8ème Section Beauséjour||1,616|
|CTN||9ème Section Citronniers||1,257|
|FDO||10ème Section Fond D'Oie||3,161|
|GMO||11ème Section Gros Morne||2,587|
|CMI||12ème Section Cormiers||2,146|
|PHP||13ème Section Petit Harpon||2,272|
At the level of economic and financial infrastructure, the municipality has a hotel, a dozen small restaurants, a Caisse populaire and six marketing cooperatives.
A dozen Building materials, over thirty food supply centres, shops, depots, several gas stations, three private morgues, eighteen Phamarcies, several photocopiers, numerous beauty studios, four markets, several photography studios and several dry cleaning are the economic and commercial establishments of the commune of Léogane.
Sugar cane, cassava, beans of several varieties, plantain, maize, are the main economic resources of the population. There are also a lot of other things that are cultivated and residents practice domestic animal husbandry.
Léogâne is known for its tafia, a sugar cane-based alcohol.
Demography and social problems
The population of Léogâne is estimated to be more than 200 000 inhabitants, of whom 3/4 are under 35 years of age. The concern of the youth of the city revolves around the expectation of a visa to emigrate, because unemployment is raging.
The Ministry of the National Education for Youth and Sports is represented by a school inspection office in the commune of Léogane. This commune has numerous private kindergartens, twenty pubic schools, numerous private, and four congregational were inventoried in the municipality. At the secondary level, were two public, and numerous private. There are also sixteen vocational schools.
The Ministry of Public Health and Population is not represented in the commune of Léogane. In the case of health facilities, a hospital, seven clinics, six health centres with no bed, and a health center with a bed have been inventoried at the communal level. A well-staffed team of doctors, dentists, nurses, auxiliaries, certified matrons and laboratory technicians form the health personnel of the commune of Léogane.
With respect to water availability, the municipality has six rivers, nineteen springs, two ponds and a lagoon. Almost every house has a well. There are public fountains with eighteen taps and more than two hundred pumps. These fountains were built by UNICEF, but several of the pumps need repair. The commune of Léogane and a good number of its localities are electrified.
For administrative and judicial infrastructures, a police station, a Peace Court and a civil status office were listed in the municipality.
Léogâne has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, and architecture.
Nearly 130 temples were counted in the commune. The Catholic temples (churches and chapels combined) are revealed to be the most numerous. Vodun occupies a prominent place among the inhabitants of the "City of Queen Anacaona", with a mixture of African, Tainos and Christian rituals.
The municipality of Léogane has five Representations of political party, 23 Popular organizations, 20 peasant groups, six Women's groups and three non-commercial cooperatives.
The commune contains a telephone office, four radio stations, and a television station.
There are a number of entrepreneurial entertainment activities that should be encouraged and supported in rebuilding efforts. Entertainment entrepreneurs set up informal ‘cinemas’ in their homes, charging a small fee for admission. Entrepreneurs also make money by arranging bals, or dance parties in yards and streets.
As for leisure, the commune has two libraries and a cinema room. She has no museum. The theatrical life is animated by the Club des Stars, an active troupe since 1993, offering performances on different occasions. It includes: Lanmou Kreyol, we've killed the sun, black chorus, Crazy about Michel, and others.
Football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, tennis are the sports practiced in the commune of Léogane. The city has two football clubs in the first Division: Le Cavalo and Valencia. The stadium is named Parc Gérard Christophe and can accommodate about 15,000 spectators. Footballer Jean-Jacques Pierre made his debut at the Cavalo.
There are many athletes and sports teams in Léogâne despite the lack of facilities and equipment. In Haiti, sports are not only a source of entertainment and camaraderie, but are also a means of economic development. A city which hosts sporting events keep the proceeds from ticket sales. Soccer is easily the most prominent sport in Léogâne. There are already many organizations that can help facilitate the growth and success of the sport, including four (three men’s and one woman’s) professional teams. Other sports such as basketball, running, weightlifting, martial arts, tennis, and volleyball also have a following in the city. Image 1.6a: An informal soccer game in Léogâne The Léogâne soccer stadium, which was barely adequate before the earthquake, is currently home to a large tent encampment which could remain there for some time. Not having a home stadium requires the Léogâne soccer teams to travel to other cities in Haiti and prevents the community from both participating in the matches and receiving the economic benefits associated with hosting a game. Thus, the Léogâne soccer teams operate at a net loss. Other sports which have been gaining popularity over the years have very few facilities in which to play. The one basketball court in Léogâne is a half-finished tennis court next to the mayor’s office. It is currently being used as municipal space. Some private schools have sports facilities, but they do not allow the community to use these facilities even outside of school hours.
Seven night-clubs and twenty nine Gaguères complement the places of leisure and entertainment of the commune.
several great names of Haitian light music originated from Léogâne. Among the most recent, we can cite Carole Demason, Rodrigue milien, Samuel Lubin "Kessy" (Ideologue of the Lavalas regime), who give performances throughout the world. There are also Robinson Augustus, Dugravil, Steevee Dog, and many others.
Léogâne is the capital of Rara, a popular music and song festival that begins the day after Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Monday. The "Rara" dates from the Amerindian period, i.e. before the Spanish colonization of the island of Haiti. However, this popular feast undergoes systematic transformations, especially after 1804, where it became a manifestation of vodun, taking on a public dimension (what is seen in the street) and an esoteric dimension for the insiders of the kabbalahs of Vodun. Since the emergence of populism with Aristide in 1990, Rara has been politicized more and more.
In terms of cultural heritage, the commune of Léogane has a cave and a fort.
The Campan Fort, now in ruins and abandoned, was built around 1806 in Beauséjour, on the hills. It is part of the defensive system developed by Jean-Jacques Desalins after the revolution of independence, in the eventuality of a return of the French, former Masters of the colony of Santo Domingo.
|VLG||Ville de Léogane||Urban||122,650|
|QTN||Quartier de Trouin||Urban||10,277|
|DCS||1ère Section Dessources||Rural section||14,794||Baussan, Belol, Binaud, Binot, Bossier, Brossier, Buteau, Ca Ira, Ca Jhon, Carrefour Baussan, Carrefour Dufort, Cassagne, Chassagne, Chavannes, Dufort, Grand Rue, La Coudre, Morel, Nan Malgré, Niveau, Petit Paradis, Pioterie, Ti Paradis|
|PRV||2ème Section Petite Rivière||Rural section||14,040||Aubry, Belval, Borgne, Chatulet, Chéridan, Daverne, Flon, Fosse, Geffrard, Gorée, Grande Place, Guérin, Lafferronay, La Salle, La Salle Geffrard, Macombe, Mariani, Mercery, Merger, Miton, Pandou, Pity, St Gérard|
|GRV||3ème Section Grande Rivière||Rural||14,873||Belle Fortune, Bernard, Brache, Cercey, Deslandes, Dimba, Gabard, La Ferrière, La Pointe, La Port, Lompré, Masson, Mathieu, Melier, Nan Timo, Rancroy, Sabouce, Sigueneau, St Mesmin, Tomarin|
|FBD||4ème Section Fond De Bourdin||Rural section||2,520||Corail, Fond Polite, Jeanton, La Ferme, La Vache, Tapion, Trouin|
|PAV||5ème Section Palmiste à Vin||Rural||4,506||Bellevue, Bois Carré, Bon Crabe, L'acul, L'oiseau, Lorin, Médecim, Palmiste Tavin, Rock Maringoin, Savanne Patate|
|ORN||6ème Section Section Orangers||Rural||1,474||Barbot, Bergeotte, Canne Marron, Carrefour Gabriel, Chevrine, Douyac, Gros-Saut, La Colline, Lamothe, La Tonnelle, La Tournelle, Nerette, Papette, Royot, Tamarin|
|PAQ||7ème Section Parques||Rural||1,640||Dimate, Nan Melfi, Perdreau, St Barthélemy, Trou-Fond|
|BSG||8ème Section Beauséjour||Rural||1,616||Beaupant, Beau Séjour, Buteau, Campan, Campant, Carrefour Cecile, Gougeon, Gros-Trou, Lafond, Mathieu, Matnurin|
|CTN||9ème Section Citronniers||Rural||1,257||Beauséjour, Citronier, Gros-Morne, Oranger, Robe|
|FDO||10ème Section Fond D'Oie||Rural||3,161||Bas Duble, Beloc, Bernard, Bouchi, Citronier, Coq Chante, Duclos, Haut Duble, Paraison, Roche à Pierre|
|GMO||11ème Section Gros Morne||Rural||2,587||Bassin Boeuf, Citronelle, Corail de Mere, Mardi Gras, Pierre|
|CMI||12ème Section Cormiers||Rural||2,146||Barière-Jeudi, Barrière-Batin, Bas Matel, Bigonet, Cabaret, Cormier, Cotin, Fond Droit, Grand-Savane, Gué Bourget, Jermeil, La Vache, Lochard, Sonson|
|PHP||13ème Section Petit Harpon||Rural||2,272||Ca Mando, Dodel, Ficha, Gris-Gris, La Crête, Pain de Sucre, Platon Tapion, Rechalet, Soixante, Vieux Caille|
Rebuild Léogâne